The Federal Government has once again been encouraged to enhance the business climate to draw more foreign direct investment into the nation.
At the 36th edition of the Lagos International Trade Fair, which was hosted at the Tafawa Balewa Square, the President of the Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr. Olawale Michael Cole, made the call.
The topic of the LCCI-organized fair is “Connecting businesses, generating values.” Cole claimed that the war in Russia and Ukraine, the COVID-19 pandemic, and climate change all had an impact on the nation’s economy.
He claimed that the forum offered a platform for improving the value of commercial enterprises. “We need to do a lot more to draw in private sector investment and address regulatory concerns that are preventing it,” Cole added. For people to visit Nigeria and conduct business with us, we must first improve our home.
Since the fair started 36 years ago, according to Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, it has continued to pave the way for others to follow. He praised the LCCI for helping businesses to remain in operation.
Sanwo-Olu stated that the theme was appropriate and that Lagos valued the contributions made by small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in terms of job generation.
He committed to fostering an environment where businesses can flourish through effective legislation, public and private involvement, and business model development.
Sanwo-Olu urged business owners to benefit from the government’s funding assistance and other initiatives.
To make Lagos the largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa and a megacity, the government, he added, would continue to work with LCCI and other stakeholders.
Niyi Adebayo, the Minister for Trade and Investment, on behalf of Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, declared the fair open and thanked the organizers for the initiative, stating that the “forum is contributing to the Gross Domestic Product and job creation.”
He reaffirmed the Federal Government’s commitment to fostering corporate growth in the nation through well-crafted policies and initiatives.
Chief Ide Udeagbala, the national president of NACCIMA (the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture), praised the LCCI for consistently organizing the fair.
He stated that Nigeria was experiencing numerous sociopolitical issues that were impeding growth. Udeagbala expressed worry about the 2023 budget, which he warned would push the country farther into debt and borrowing. He bemoaned the nation’s erratic exchange rates and crude oil theft.
The president raised concerns that the 2023 budget did not accurately reflect the state of the economy as of today and added that the Federal Government must get the country ready to join the African Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
He applauded the Federal Government for allowing the Central Bank of Nigeria to redesign Nigerian money. To stop the complete collapse of the industry nationwide, he urged better vocational education across the nation.
The Oba of Lagos, Adewale Gbadegesin, the Olowo of Owo, Ondo State, Oba Akinolu represented by the Cap chiefs, a representative of the governor of Ondo State, a representative of the secretary to the government of the federation, the former president of LCCI, Chief (Mrs.) Nike Akande, a representative of Olu-Ibadan, and other dignitaries attended the opening ceremony.